Thanks to the New Business Models for News summit organized by Jeff Jarvis at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, I have a spiral notebook full of ideas flagged for followup, which I plan to address on this blog.
This morning, a quick one, courtesy of data from Eric Stein of Google.
As we wrestle with the inevitable and undeniably secular disappearance of classified revenue from newspapers and, by extension, their web sites, the obvious question is “How do I replace those dollars?”
The answer for a lot of us has been local – helping local businesses to grow. And, according to Stein, that potential for growth is just beginning.
By federal estimates, there are 23 million small businesses in the U.S. Of that number, 6-7 million have one or more employees; the rest are sole-proprieterships.
And yet, most of them – in fact the vast majority – have yet to create a web site to promote their businesses. We can’t help them drive traffic. Google can’t help them drive traffic. In the digital world, they don’t exist.
So what are local newspapers doing to help? As the largest single sales and marketing organizations in our markets, what can we do to reach out to the millions of going concerns that need to reach the massive and targetable audience we have?
Who’s doing a good job out there of helping local businesses to reach their audiences? Who’s using the pricing advantage of digital media to show local businesses that they can prosper and even grow in a down market?
What are we doing to help local businesses in our markets?